A group of rough and tough motorcyclists showed their softer side on Saturday in a fundraising event to help victims of child abuse.


A group of rough and tough motorcyclists showed their softer side on Saturday in a fundraising event to help victims of child abuse.

Bikers Against Child Abuse held its annual Bash and Poker Run at the West 60 Cycle, between Neosho and Seneca. It was a daylong event that began at 10 a.m. and lasted until after dark.

BACA is a worldwide organization of motorcyclists who seek to offer encouragement and support to children who have been abused. It was the local West Central Chapter of BACA, of around 16 members, which put on Saturday’s event.

Members of the chapter use pseudonyms to protect their identities as lookouts for the children. The chapter’s former president, Stubby, said the organization is here to provide sanction and confidence to children.

“We’re just here to empower children,” said Stubby. "If they've been abused, they can come to us, we can give them the support they need and want."

At the event, there were games games, a raffle, pictures with the bikers, food and a free “kids safe” ID station. Starting at 7 p.m., a few BACA musicians from the band Swytch took the stage and performed for a few hours.

Stubby talked about the confidence instilled in the children when they know they have other people looking out for them.

“When a whole bunch of bikes pull up in front of a kid’s house…the kids change overnight,” Stubby said, “because they know they have big brother and big sister watching out for them.”

The bikers have other events planned for this year. Next weekend, they are taking the children on a camping trip. Also, at Christmastime, the bikers make sure each of their kids has a present.

“(We) let them know they’re not alone in this thing,” Stubby said. “(We will) go to court with them.”

From musicians and business owners to lawyers and doctors, there is a lot of variety in BACA membership.

“You wouldn’t believe how many different walks of life are standing here tonight,” Stubby said.

One BACA supporter, Kurk Ellison, of Joplin, attended Saturday’s event. He has attended this particular BACA event for three years and thinks it is important for the local community.

“It’s good for the community, good for the kids,” Ellison said.

Anyone interested in learning more information about BACA can visit www.bacausa.com.